May the Force of Weather Be With You


CLARKSBURG, W.Va – With the newest Star Wars movie coming out this weekend, Meteorologist Scott Sincoff explains one of the key components of the Star Wars saga – the Force.

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.

As explained to Luke Skywalker by Obi-Wan Kenobi in “A New Hope”

But the force isn’t just a power within the heart of a Jedi, it is a major component of how weather occurs in the atmosphere.

So what exactly is force?

The force equation states that force equals mass times acceleration.

In physics, a force is a synergy that when unopposed will alter the motion of an object. A force can cause an object of mass to change it velocity; that allows the object to accelerate. Force has both magnitude and a direction, which makes it vector quantity.


Within the science of meteorology, there are two main forces: Coriolis Force and the Force of Gravity.

The Coriolis Force (or the Coriolis Effect) describes and is responsible for many large-scale weather patterns and systems.

The application of the Coriolis Force is based upon a mass moving in a system along the rotation of the Earth on its axis. The force acts perpendicular to the direction of motion and the axis of rotation.

The Coriolis Force acts differently dependent on what latitude you are at on Earth. If you are closer to the Equator (or more south in the Northern Hemisphere), the Earth rotates faster than if you are closer to the Poles (or more north in the Northern Hemisphere).

When in the Northern Hemisphere, objects are usually deflected to the right. The reason being? It is because the object is moving faster to catch up to its destination since the Earth is moving at a faster speed due to its location. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Coriolis Effect works in the opposite way with objects begin deflected to the left. A great example of this is an airplane’s flight path.

The Coriolis Effect’s impact is dependent on the velocity, or speed, of the Earth as well as the object being deflected.


Gravity was the force that was discovered when an apple fell on physicist Isaac Newton and hit his head. It is also the force that allows the planets of the Solar System to orbit around the Sun.

Gravity is defined as the force that attracts two bodies towards each other. The more massive an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

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